Monday, June 27, 2011

MY Redneck's Inventions

They say that, "Necessity is the mother of invention." Or at least I think that's how it goes. And boy oh boy, have we met 'necessity' up close and personal these last few months! We have been brow beaten by her over and over. I say 'her', because only a female can poke, prod, tease and nag like necessity does.

I'm talking about the necessity to create meals out of potatoes, or pasta, whatever canned vegetable is left and season it from the crumbs scraped from the bottom of the spice cupboard.

I'm talking about the necessity to walk away from our credit cards, redefine "needs" and how that differs from "wants."

The necessity to use what we have and not let anything that costs money go to waste. Conserve energy, water and food to meet budgets set every week. We will never be able to keep up with the Jones's, so what's the point in trying? I hear they're not great company anyway.

The necessity to work as much as possible in order to dig ourselves out of a huge hole we've dug by living above and beyond our means, thinking there would be no consequences. (Can I get an amen?!)

We no longer buy new, we buy used, or more often the case...we create. I consider us to be the Rednecks of the North. Yeah, I've seen all those websites that poke fun at "Redneck Inventions" and we've never reached the lengths as say, oh, these guys:
Redneck Hot Tub

But really? Hasn't the economy and high gas prices forced most of us to make do with what we have in one way or another? To come to grips with the idea that the moment we throw it away, we might need it and can't afford to buy a replacement? It's just that a lot of us have to make do with a lot less. I'm pretty sure it was a Redneck who came up with this idea first so he wouldn't have to leave his lawn chair:
In addition to this, he probably invented the catheder as well...

I'm guessing the first one involved a duct tape, a camouflage baseball hat, 2 cans of Schlitz, and a bunch of straws from McDonald's strewn together. (You can see it, right?)

Anyway, back to me (because it's all about me), or rather my husband. He is THE KING! The difference with his inventions is, they're actually quite useful. He feigns incompetence when it came to changing diapers, cooking anything besides cheeseburgers, and apparently changing a roll of toilet paper. But I began to see through his ploy when he invented the "refrigerator knot." Besides the possibility of my children hanging themselves from the frig door, this one had a lot of just needed some tweaks and a good marketing campaign. We call them "McGyver's" because, seriously, under all of that Hollywood make-up, wasn't he just a glorified Redneck?
I always thought he was hot...

Wanna take a look at what we got going on? Let's start with this:
A little worse for wear, but we cut the sharp ends off.

This was built several years back out of scrap wood and chicken wire. It fits perfectly between the edges of the garage door rails. Since the garage opens to the backyard, this allows us to have the garage door open AND be able to let the dogs roam freely. It has saved us hundreds in doggy jail bail-out money.

Problem: we lost our downspout in a windstorm. The large hole in our soffit caused the rain to pound on one section of our patio, thus washing out the sand between the pavers. The solution?

That is the top to our outdoor fire pit (whose handle corroded away and left a hole) up-side-down on a bucket, thus collecting any stray streams, and directing it to a bucket...also with a hole drilled into it, and PVC pipe and our salvaged piece of drainpipe leading the water away so our pavers don't take such a beating. The downside to this one, sounded like a Reggae band on steel drums whenever it rained.

Next, we had a light fixture located directly above the stairs leading to our basement. Problem: Who could reach the 12-inch string dangling above the middle of the stairs? Reaching it was a matter of luck and a death wish...and that was for the adults. Our children wouldn't go downstairs to their playroom without having a lighted way.


Much better. We can now turn the light off and on without having the balance of an aerialist AND without leaving the safety of the first floor.

Moving on. The kid's bouncy house did not survive the rambunctious tribe of 7-year-olds at my son's last birthday party even after several attempts to salvage it with strips upon strips of gorilla tape (sorry mom). Besides, after all of the air-filled-toy-lift-offs on the news, maybe it wasn't safe. However, after creating a yellow spot from laying on our lawn for too long, hubby devised a way to recycle. Problem: No escape from heat and sun on a 2-second sunburn-rated body while fishing in the boat.


PVC pipe (eat your heart out, Blue Man Group), string, screws, cut up bouncy-house canvas, and some ingenuity, and wa-lah! A fold out canvas that provides shade and comfort while fishing, yet folds up easily and doesn't reduce visibility while driving. (He also concocted some sort of PVC pipe set up that allows him to steer while trolling and controlling the motor from the BACK of the boat. Too complicated for me to picture here.)

If you have a career as a handyman, you need to utilize every available space for transporting your tools. Problem: Where to store brooms so they don't poke you in the eye from the back seat every time you make a right turn.

Solution: Add a wooden bumper, drill holes, insert brooms or shovels...'nuf said.

View from below.

Hell, his whole trailer is a McGyver-ism:

This is my life. I embrace it. I consider my husband quite a talented man. (Shameless plug - find Help Around The House on facebook, and you can see pictures and updates of his craft.)

So, when we have a need, we find a way. I kid my husband a LOT about his "inventions," but deep down, I hope that my kids inherit his ability to combine necessity, creativity and materials at hand to form a solution...that takes talent...especially if you need to defuse a bomb with a paperclip, Rolex watch, and duct tape.


  1. I love that trailer. I bet he'd be able to build the coolest play house ever, with all kinds of trap doors and secret hideouts and special gadgets!

  2. Some clever ideas on this post! TFS

  3. I love this stuff! You are a lucky gal to have such a handy guy around. I know we'd be in dire straits if he had to come up with ideas like this. I love that trailer! Why would the bucket holder freak people out? Just because it looks suspended?

  4. @Alli - Don't give him any ideas! The way he works, a playhouse would encompass the whole back yard. :-)

    @Kisatrtle - I love the way he thinks.

    @Lex - I do count my blessings and yes, people don't always think the buckets are attached. BUT we actually do get a lot of thumbs up from passers by.

  5. Love this stuff! Reading your posts brings back memories of growing up with 2 brothers, one of whom wore that beer can holder hat when he worked at [one of those restaurant chains that required its waitstaff to wear flair-like hats]. Good times.

    And thanks for reposting me!

    Joe at Mostly Harmless Drivel

  6. I love how talented your husband is. It would be so nice to have a handyman around the house. My husband can fix anything technology or computer related. However, the small hole caused by wee ones throwing a baseball inside the house that was created almost 4 years ago... still there waiting to be fixed. SIGH!

  7. @Joe - maybe that's the key...having brothers. Hubby is the youngest of 6 boys.

    @Annie - I've found that duct tape goes a long way. However, maybe we could swap husbands for a week...just for their fixing abilities!

  8. WOW! Can I borrow him? I have a few things that need a good redneck remedy - this is coming from a true redneck. You guys should really do a whole site.

  9. Hey! I work at a casting company looking for "Backyard Inventors!" I think your husband is a great candidate! You should send some information about you guys, where you're from, how long your husband has been inventing, etc., to! We'd love to hear from you!